• Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Bigwigs among Nigeria’s recent national honours recipients (PART 1)

As Buhari returns to Abuja

Muhammadu Buhari in his last week as the 15th president of Nigeria conferred national honours on over 300 Nigerians and friends of the country in various categories. The recipients of the award included politicians, civil servants, executives in the private sector, entertainment doyens, among others

BusinessDay spotlights 20 prominent people recognized by the former president across various industries.

Chukwuemeka Anyaoku (GCON)

Chukwuemeka Anyaoku was awarded the second highest national honour of Grand Commander of Order of Niger (GCON)

Born on 18 January 1933 in Obosi town, Anambra State, Anyaoku is a renowned diplomat and statesman whose career in leadership spans many decades and institutions, both nationally and internationally.

Anyaoku studied at Merchants of Light School in Anambra after which he attended the University College of Ibadan to study classics. He then proceeded to obtain a London University Honours Degree in classics as a college scholar.

Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, he was headhunted into the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), which was founded by the colonial government in 1948 to accelerate the economic and social development of colonies.

He later went on to join the Foreign Service of Nigeria and was subsequently recruited into the Diplomatic Corps, starting off as the Special Assistant to then Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for External Affairs.

Anyaoku was involved in diplomatic and bilateral activism and he spoke against issues around apartheid and minority representation.

He also served on Nigeria’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York and on 24th October, 1989 he was elected as the 3rd Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, making him the first from the African continent. He was then re-elected for a second five-year term from 1995.

Anyaoku actively was involved in numerous interventions to broker peace between several Commonwealth leaders and opposition parties in their countries. He also initiated the use of Commonwealth observer groups to assist elections in various countries.

Godwin Emefiele (CFR)

Godwin Emefiele

Regarded as one of the key players in the Nigerian economy, Emefiele, an economist and banker is the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, a position he has held since June 2014.

Although a native of Agbor, Delta State, he was born 4th August 1961 in Lagos State, Nigeria.

He obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Banking and Finance as well as a Master’s Degree in Finance, from University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN). He is also an alumnus of Executive Education at Stanford University, Harvard University and Wharton School of Business where he took courses in Negotiation, Service Excellence, Critical Thinking, Leading Change.

Emefiele was also conferred with an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Business Administration by his alma mater.

His career started as a finance and insurance lecturer at UNN and the University of Port Harcourt, he worked in commercial banking for more than 26 years, the last 18 of which were spent as group managing director and chief executive officer of Zenith Bank PLC, one of Nigeria’s biggest banks before joining CBN.

As the CBN governor, Emefiele spearheaded and implemented policy actions such as the naira redesign, interest rate hike.

Emefiele is the first governor of the Central Bank to serve for two-terms since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999 and is also the first serving governor of CBN to seek court approval to enable him run for presidential election on the platform of the ruling party.

Herbert Wigwe (CFR)

Herbert Wigwe

Wigwe is a Nigerian banker and entrepreneur. He is currently CEO of Access Holdings Plc,. Born August 15, he hails from Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State.

Wigwe started his career at Coopers & Lybrand, Lagos as a management consultant, later qualifying as a chartered accountant. After spending some time at Capital Bank, he joined GTBank where he spent over a decade working in corporate and institutional banking, rising to become the executive director in charge of institutional banking.

He left GT Bank to co-lead the transformation of Access Bank Plc in March 2002 as Deputy Managing Director. He was appointed Group Managing Director/CEO effective January 1, 2014 and served in that capacity till May 2022 when he was appointed a Non-Executive Director of the Bank..

Wigwe is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School Executive Management Program. He holds a master’s degree in Banking and International Finance from the University College of North Wales, a master’s degree in Financial Economics from the University of London and a B.Sc. degree in Accounting from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Wigwe is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), the Chairman of Access Bank (UK) Ltd and a Non-Executive Director of Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company Plc; FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange; Shared Agents Network Expansion Facilities Ltd and Agri-Business/ SME Enterprises Investment Scheme. He is also a member of the Governing Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

Babajide Sanwo-Olu (CON)

Babajide Sanwo-Olu

Babajide Sanwo-Olu born 25 June is a Nigerian politician and is the 15th governor of Lagos state, a position he has held since 2019.

His public service career began in 2003, when he was appointed Special Adviser on Corporate Matters to the then Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Femi Pedro, and later Special Adviser on Corporate Matters to the president Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was then the governor.

Prior to becoming the Lagos state governor, he was the managing director and CEO of Lagos State Property Development Corporation (LSPDC)

Sanwo-Olu was also a 3-time Commissioner in Lagos State, having served in the Ministries of Economic Planning & Budget, Commerce & Industry and the Ministry of establishments, Training & Pensions.

He is a graduate of the University of Lagos, London Business School, Lagos Business School and the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

He is a full member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM), a member of the Nigerian Institute of Directors (IOD), Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM), and Fellowship of Nigeria Institute of Training and Development (NITAD).

Oluremi Tinubu (CON)

Oluremi Tinubu

Tinubu is a Nigerian politician and wife of president Bola Tinubu. Born 21st September she also served as the first lady of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007.

While she hails from Ogun state, she is currently the senator representing Lagos Central Senatorial District at the Nigerian National Assembly.

Tinubu received a B.S. in Education from the University of Ife, and a National Certificate of Education in Botany and Zoology from the Adeyemi College of Education. She also obtained a PGD from the Redeemed Christian bible college in 2010.

Read also: President Buhari approves renaming of airports, boards of aviation agencies

She has won several awards and received other honors, like the National award of the Officer of the Order of the Niger [OON], Member, Board of Trustees of Kings’ University, Ode-Omu; Ghana Noble International Award for Leadership (2004), Gambian Diamond Award for Immense Contribution to the Emancipation of People from Poverty (2005).

David Adeleke (OON)



Adeleke is popularly known as Davido was born on November 21 in Atlanta, USA is a Nigerian singer, songwriter and record producer

Davido was studying business administration at Oakwood University before dropping out to pursue music full-time and he relocated to London, where he worked on his vocals.

After returning to Nigeria in 2011, Davido enrolled at Babcock University, from which he graduated in July 2015, with a degree in music after his father paid the university to start a music department for an inaugural class of one student.

In 2016, he launched his record label Davido Music Worldwide (DMW) where he signed and mentored artistes like Mayorkun, Peruzzi, Dremo and many more.

As an internationally recognized musician, Davido has been nominated for and has won many awards including the BET awards, Kora awards, MTV Europe music awards, MTV Africa Music awards, world music awards, among others.

With over six albums and over 20 singles, Davido’s songs has been streamed across various platforms over a million times and he was handpicked by FIFA to lead their 2022 World Cup Soundtrack collaboration.

Tiwatope Savage (OON)

Tiwa Savage

Popularly known as Tiwa savage, the Nigerian born star is a singer, songwriter, and actress who is also referred to as the Queen of Afrobeats.

Born February 5 in Lagos state, Savage and her family relocated to London in 1991 where she lived, schooled and eventually graduated with a degree in Business Administration afrom the University of Kent, after which she started working at The Royal Bank of Scotland.

Savage began her music career doing backup vocals for artists such as George Michael and Mary J. Blige. After participating in the UK edition of The X Factor and graduating from Berklee College of Music, Savage signed a publishing deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing in 2009 which allowed her to write songs for Babyface, Kat Deluna, Fantasia, Monica and Mýa. She moved back to Nigeria and signed up with Mavin Records in 2012.

Upon her return to Nigeria, she went on to release various songs including Kele Kele Love, Ife Wa Gbona, Folarin, Olorun Mi, Eminado, my darling, somebody’s son, etc.

Savage’s global recognitions include BBC’s list of the 100 inspirational and innovative women for 2017, In November 2018, she won the Best African Act at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards, becoming the first woman to win the category.

Laolu Akande (OON)

Laolu Akande

Laolu Akande is a Nigerian journalist and lecturer. He was the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the former vice president of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo.

Akande was born in Ibadan, Oyo State. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Ibadan in 1990 and a master’s degree in Communication and Language Arts from the same University in 1992.

Akande’s career in Journalism started in 1989 when he joined the Guardian Newspapers as a reporter. He later became a founding member of The News magazine team in 1993 as Senior Writer, Tempo publication and the Nigerian tribune.

He also reported for Empowered Newswire, a US-based news agency and was also a former North America Bureau Chief for The Guardian (Nigeria) in New York City, United States.

He has taught at several US colleges including Suffolk County Community College, where he was a Professor of Communication, and State University of New York, Stonybrook, where he lectured on African history and politics.

As a journalist, Akande has interviewed many prominent people including former US President George W. Bush, Bill Gates, former US President Donald Trump, former US Secretary of States, Colin Powell, among others.

Jumoke Oduwole (MFR)

Jumoke Oduwole

A jurist, researcher and business enabling/ industry executive, Oduwole was born and bred in Lagos where she acquired an LL.B degree in law and was called to the Nigerian Bar. She went on to obtain an LL.M degree with a slant in Commercial law from the Cambridge University, England.

She holds a master’s degree in International Legal Studies and a doctorate in International Trade and Development from Stanford Law School, USA.

She is the pioneer Executive Secretary of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), and was a special adviser to the former President Muhammadu Buhari on Ease of Doing Business.

Prior to her appointment in August 2019, Oduwole was the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade & Investment from November 2015 to May 2019 in which she worked to form the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN). She also served on the Technical Working Group of the Presidential Committee for the Impact and Readiness Assessment of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) (Sub-Committee on Ease of Doing Business).

She serves as a Trustee on the APC Professionals Forum as well as the Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS). She was recently invited to serve as a Governance Advisor to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Governance Lab in recognition of her role as a champion of innovation in governance.

Bayo Omoboriowo (MFR)

Bayo Omoboriowo

Omoboriowo is a Nigerian photojournalist and documentary photographer. He was the official photographer to former president Muhammad Buhari.

Born May 13 in Lagos, Omoboriowo obtained a degree in pure and applied chemistry from the University of Lagos and an MA in Arts and Cultural Management from King’s college London.

He is also a Guinness World Record holder after he authored the largest photobook ‘Discover Nigeria’, showcases Nigeria rich traditional institutions, ingenuity of its people, the beauty of its landscape, the richness of its farmlands, stunning waterfalls and seas, among others.

He is the founder of Unabashed Africa, a platform that upskills and creates opportunities for photographers across Africa.

His photographs have been featured in art exhibitions and published in national and international publications and he has won various awards including the Sundance Institute Film Award, NACCP Climate Change Photo Contest, MTN Afrinolly film competition and The Future Awards for the Most Creative Artist of the Year in Nigeria.